Europe – The waste guidance issued on June 28 by the European Commission’s Environment Department risks ‘seriously downgrading’ the quality of recyclates used by paper mills, states the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI). The heavy criticism is mainly focused on the Commission’s statement that ‘the moment when a material or substance reaches EoW (end-of-waste) is simultaneous with the completion of the recovery and recycling processes’.
According to the confederation, the guidance document should not describe compliance with end-of-waste criteria as an equivalent to recovery or recycling. In fact, such a stance poses ‘a serious risk to advancing a recycling society in Europe’. Additionally, it is feared that the ‘radical measures’ in the non-binding document would effectively break the information flow for public authorities, making it more difficult to police illegal shipments of material.
‘For waste management companies and waste traders, the scenario will be frightening,’ says CEPI. ‘With the new interpretation, they would become ‘recyclers’ without receiving any significant benefit.’ They would, however, become ‘legally responsible for the output material’ as designated by producers. This would put the weight of liability concerning both quality and possible contamination of waste material on their shoulders.
In the opinion of CEPI, ‘the full implications of that change in interpretation are not clear’. Still, it believes demanding so much from waste management companies ‘might just add to the growing list of badly implemented environmental EU measures’ and is unlikely to contribute to smart, green and inclusive growth in Europe.
The new guidance document also states: ‘If co-mingled separation can achieve high-quality recycling similar to that achieved with separate collection, then it would be in line with EU waste objectives.’ Considering this particular issue is still under legal review in the UK, CEPI finds this to be a somewhat ‘questionable’ interpretation. The confederation believes co-mingling also negatively affects the quality of paper recyclates.
To read the guidance document, visit: www.endseurope.com/29125/paper-industry-criticises-eu-waste-guidance#ixzz1zdeXbWNO
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